A Passion for Environmental Action – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

A Passion for Environmental Action

This summer, William Smith student Caroline Spruill ’12 spent much of her time interning with the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in Washington, D.C. As a double major in political science and international environmental policy, Spruill has a strong interest in the environmental policy process.

“I am most interested in ocean policy, and the need for a comprehensive ocean policy framework in this country,” says Spruill, who has previously interned at Ocean Conservancy. Her time there provided a valuable counterpoint to her time on the Select Committee in that it allowed her to see the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) side of environmental policy action. Her mother, Vikki Spruill P’12, is president and CEO of the Ocean Conservancy and was a President’s Forum speaker on campus this spring.

Spruill learned of the internship through William Smith alum Jillian Oberfield ’01, who is a legislative assistant for Congressman Edward J. Markey, the current chair of the Select Committee. Spruill met Oberfield during the HWS “Day on the Hill” winter break program, which serves as an opportunity for HWS students to network with a variety of alums and gain more knowledge about politics and policy in Washington.

Much of Spruill’s work centered around oil spill in the Gulf. “My office was literally ground zero for all of the incredible work that Congressman Markey did on the spill. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.I got to sit in on the entire Tony Hayward hearing before the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, (where Texas Republican Joe Barton apologized to BP). I also helped put together briefing material for the Congressman to make the many TV appearances about the spill that he made over the summer. Our office was operating at such an incredibly high level, and it was so exciting to be a part of it,” she says. 

Her other duties with the Committee included performing environmental research, writing memos, attending hearings and briefings and doing prep work for the hearings. Spruill also worked with the Committee’s communications team, updating its website, managing its Twitter account and monitoring its Facebook page.

On campus, Spruill is the president of William Smith Congress, a member of the Colleges’ Chorale, Cantori and Three Miles Lost. She is also a tour guide at Admissions.

After HWS, Spruill plans to go to either law school or a J.D./M.A. program where she can continue to explore issues of environmental policy.

In the photo above,Spruill (right) is pictured with Jillian Oberfield’01 and Congressman Edward Markey.